SOMERSET, Ky. (AP) - Although officials in Somerset are divided over the city’s lawsuit challenging the authority of the state auditor to perform special investigations, the legal action will move forward.
The Lexington Herald-Leader (https://bit.ly/1J9LI9p) reports city attorney Carrie Wiese said during a meeting on Monday that City Council members approved the action months ago.
Her comments came after Councilman Pat Bourne made a motion to drop the complaint saying it was unwarranted, which got support from Councilman John Ricky Minton.
“I am totally against this lawsuit, wasting taxpayer money,” Minton said. “We’ve got nothing to hide.”
Mayor Eddie Girdler ruled the motion out of order and a vote wasn’t taken.
Media report the complaint was filed July 31 after the city received a preliminary copy of an audit that cited more than 24 findings, including problems with the city’s processes in hiring, bidding and paying overtime.
Wiese says many statements in the audit report aren’t accurate or are taken out of context.
“The citizens of Somerset and our employees can take pride in the fact that their government is well run and that we take seriously how we spend every penny of taxpayer money, constantly seeking to improve our efficiency,” Wiese said.
Kentucky League of Cities deputy director J.D. Chaney said that while state law does not explicitly authorize special municipal exams, it strongly implies the auditor can perform such work.
Stephenie Hoelscher, the spokeswoman for Auditor Adam Edelen, said the office has done more than 20 such investigations in the last 15 years. No other such challenges have been raised.
Edelen has said his office performed the investigation after concerns were raised about finances, employment practices and other issues.
Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, https://www.kentucky.com
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